Advertising in 2018: The Commercials That Got Us Talking

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At BBR, we love to share great advertising moments with our team. We even have a dedicated Slack channel to talk about campaigns that catch our attention. We also believe that art is subjective, so we don’t categorize anything as good or bad, but rather “this made me feel a certain way.” These are just some of the spots that made us feel something — happy, sad, joyful, embarrassed and curious — in 2018.

Made us dance in the hallways: Bacardi’s “Dance Floor”

When your company is based in Puerto Rico, it’s only natural to feel the rhythm of the island with every sip. This ad perfectly embodies the spirit of Bacardi rum and solidifies its placement at any party where you want to pack a dancefloor.

Made us catch all the feels: Apple’s “Share Your Gifts”

As a person working in a creative field, it’s sometimes hard to know if what you’ve made really matters. The world can be a dark place, with little reassurance for the dreamers and risk-takers. This ad, with its gorgeous animation and heartfelt message of “what you do MATTERS,” made us all feel revitalized — determined to keep putting great work made with love into the world, no matter what.

Made us literally LOL and slow clap: Nebraska’s “Honestly, It’s Not For Everyone.”

Look, we’re the first to admit that Louisiana is a pretty easy sell for tourists. We have Mardi Gras, excellent outdoor activities, year-round incredible food and the nicest people you could hope to meet. Nebraska … well, they maybe have corn? John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism’s executive director, heads the state’s hilariously humble campaign by explaining that, while the state may be a little boring, that’s no reason to overlook it as a vacation destination.

Made us marvel and reminisce: Arby’s “Big Announcement | Sesame Seed”

Take a journey with us. It’s Spring Break 2002. There’s a tourist shop on the boardwalk that you can’t help but notice. You purchase a leather necklace with a faux crystal, perhaps dolphin shaped, that encloses a grain of rice with your name hand painted on it. We can’t prove that was the thinking behind Arby’s Guinness World Record-setting ad, which features a message engraved in a sesame seed … but you never know.

Made us put our phones on “Do Not Disturb” while driving: AT&T’s “It Can Wait”

Honestly, we’re a bunch of softies here at BBR. And nothing hits us harder than well-told stories that pull on our heartstrings in the digital age. AT&T knocked its “It Can Wait” campaign out of the park with this behind-the-scenes look at what the victims of fatal texting-while-driving accidents would be doing today — if they had survived. Grab some tissues before you watch this one.

Made two of our employees buy Subarus this year: Subaru’s “Life On The Line”

Car shopping isn’t easy. There are thousands of options and infinite reasons to choose one model over another. However, Subaru has consistently maintained their “life-friendly” brand by highlighting the loyal relationship the vehicle has with its owners, its steady resale value and status as the #1 car for dog owners. Subaru’s reputation for safety is at the heart of this emotional ad.

Made us wish for a Bourne Identity-style movie expansion: Taco Bell’s “Web of Fries”

Fun fact: Our staff is fueled by tacos. So much so that many of us are on a first name basis with the sweet lady at the nearby Taco Bell (hey, Sheila!). Needless to say, we’re big fans of the brand and would absolutely, 100% be first in line to watch a series of conspiracy theory movies revolving around The Bell serving items typically reserved for burger chains.

Made us cherish those YouTube “how to pronounce” videos: Snicker’s “Ahmend”

Neverending debates at BBR: is GIF pronounced like “jiff” or with a hard g as in “graphics”? Is peanut butter better creamy or crunchy? Baked chips or regular? Is Grease 2 actually better than the original Grease? And now, thanks to Snickers…how do you pronounce “almond” correctly?

Made us ugly cry: Blue Apron “What Cooking Can Do” Campaign

Do yourself a favor, and watch all six videos on the linked playlist. From couple make-ups and the perfect girl’s night in to recreating a late mother’s recipe, Blue Apron knows that food is the key to our stomachs — and our hearts.

Made us go “hmmm…”: Ikea’s “Pee On This Ad”

IKEA – Pee Ad from Ourwork on Vimeo.

There’s no other way to say this: Ikea made an ad you can pee on. Well … that women who think they may be pregnant can pee on. The strip at the bottom of the advertisement serves as a pregnancy test, and if the results are positive, a crib discount appears to celebrate your upcoming bundle of joy — and the 9 hours it will take you to assemble its new bed.

Made our eyes roll: IHOP Becomes IHOB

When you’re really, really good at pancakes … why would you ever switch to burgers? While the company admitted the name change was just a PR stunt, the internet had a FIELD DAY with sassy roasts. (Side note: Wendy’s is the queen of clapbacks, and we love them for it.)

Made us say “YIKES”: Jack in the Box’s “Try My Bowls”

Let me be the first to say I love Jack in the Box. It’s my favorite fast food restaurant, and I’ve driven an hour to Baton Rouge just to have a Jumbo Jack with cheese and curly fries. However, in the year of “Me Too” and non-stop news of sexual harassment in the workplace, this ad was tone deaf, out of place and completely unnecessary. The ad was recut to reduce the amount of screen time given to the cringe-worthy lawyer scene, but the damage was already done.  

Were there any ads we missed that stood out to you this year? Disagree with our picks? Let me know at [email protected]!

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